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December 27, 2002

Pregnant woman is strangled

From: San Antonio Express, TX - 27 Dec 2002

By Jesse Bogan San Antonio Express-News

A deaf, pregnant San Antonio woman was found strangled at her Northwest Side home Thursday morning.

Trishawn Fifer, 28, was pronounced dead at 9:05 a.m. at home in the 10100 block of Terra Oak Street, according to the Bexar County medical examiner's office.

San Antonio police said there were "some" suspects, but declined to give details. No arrests had been made as of Thursday night.

Officers initially did not suspect foul play in the woman's death; however, upon investigation by medical examiners, her death was ruled a homicide. The manner of death was strangulation, officials said.

Lisa Rodriguez, 36, who lives about 10 blocks away, said she was passing the Fifer home about 8:30 a.m. when she saw a little girl walking on the sidewalk in front of the house barefoot, crying and alone.

Rodriguez stopped and eventually followed the 2-year-old child to the Fifer home and peeked inside the door.

"I was calling out, 'Hello, hello,'" Rodriguez said, fearing that there was a problem.

Then another little girl, this one 4, came from inside the house and told Rodriguez, "Mommy, mommy, sleep back there."

Rodriguez followed the child's pointing and found the children's mother on the floor at the foot of the bed, dressed in a shirt and shorts.

"I checked for a pulse, but I didn't feel anything," said Rodriguez, who then called 911.

Rodriguez said she didn't know the family.

Police said they called Fifer's husband, Nathaniel Fifer, a laborer at Helmy Associates & Co. to tell him about his wife's death. Nathaniel Fifer, who also is deaf, came home immediately, officers said.

Thursday night, San Antonio Police Homicide Detective John Slaughter was helping Nathaniel Fifer gather some items. He and the two children were going to spend the night at a different home, Slaughter said.

"They don't feel comfortable staying here tonight," the detective said.

Slaughter said at least seven people had filled out statements.

Sherry Guilford, a neighbor and friend, said she took care of the two girls while police investigated the home.

"They were just a nice couple," she said, adding that a church bus picked the family up every Sunday.

Guilford said Fifer was six months pregnant and was a homemaker.

Nathaniel Fifer was not able to comment, but Guilford, who spoke with him via sign language, said he was devastated.

Police dispatchers said officers went to the Fifer home on June 9, answering a call about a suspicious person. They also went to the home on April 8 to take a vandalism report. The outcome of those calls was not immediately available.

Staff writer Elaine Aradillas contributed to this report.

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